What do Optimist Clubs Do?

Optimist Clubs are dedicated to "Bringing Out the Best in youth, our community and ourselves" and do their part through community service programs. Since each Club is autonomous and run by members in their community, Optimists have the unique flexibility to serve the youth of their area in any way they see fit. Optimist Clubs see a need in their community and react to it.  To learn more about how we help youth in our community, please click here to visit our programs page.

About the C-U Optimist Club:

The Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club is one of more than 4,000 Optimist Clubs all over the world. Optimist International, founded in 1919, is one of the world's largest service club organizations whose sole purpose is service to their communities. Carrying the motto: "Optimist Bring out the Best in Kids", our clubs serve more than six million young people annually. Optimists across the country conduct 65,000 community service projects each year, spending $78 million in their communities. The Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club was established in 1947 and chartered in 1948.

The Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club conducts positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. Our club members are best known in their communities for their upbeat attitudes. By believing in young people and empowering them to be the best they can. Optimist volunteers continually make this world a better place to live.

2019-2020 Executive Committee & Membership:


Marcus E. Johnson

Vice President
Grace Mitchell


Connie Minnes

Co-Secretary & Treasurer
Tori Exum

Sgt. at Arms
Carlos Donaldson, Jr.

Past President
Mason Minnes

Board of Directors:

Bobbie Herakovich (2021)

Barbara Gillespie (2021)

Jim Manley (2021)

Leslie Rodriguez (2020)

Fred Neumann (2020)

Gene Morgan (2020)

Club Member Roster
Greg Cales
Blake Donaldson
Carlos Donaldson, Jr.
Tori Exum-Johnson
Rachel Fleming
Bill Fondren
Barbara Gillespie
Bernice Harrington
Bobbie Herakovich
Marcus Johnson
Bette Long
Jim Manley
Connie Minnes
Mason Minnes
Grace Mitchell
Gene Morgan
Nate Morris
Fred Neumann
Joyce Remesch
Frencheska Robinson
Leslie Rodriguez
Howard Schweighart
Jack Widholm

Mission Statement:

By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.

Vision Statement:

Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential.

Optimist Creed:


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Upcoming Events

Thursday, Oct 15 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Nov 19 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Dec 17 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Jan 21 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Recent Photos